Chapter 9 is about the final judgement of the enemies of Israel.
Chapter 10 is about the promised restoration of Israel, not as two separate kingdoms.
Chapter 11 is about the doomed within the flock of Israel and leadership.
Chapter 12- When all is lost, God steps in.
Why has God not been thanked by us as individuals or corporately for the many times he has stepped in to make things right? We have discussed this topic before in ahabiblemoments articles. Here is another reason this chapter is an exclusive covenant to Israel. They failed and continue to fail through the ages, up to the writing of this article, to recognize God’s hand. We assume the good we experience is simply providential. Give me help until I see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. I will make it the rest of the way on my own. This is still the deluded but basic belief of Israelis. It was true in their wilderness wandering and remains true today.
Chapter 12 speaks to this. Pay attention. This is exclusive to Israelis feeling this way, that is, this End Time discussion at this “in that day” moment in Zechariah. Believers (the real church) are raptured. They no longer are on earth at this prophetic point in Zechariah.
We seldom recommend the CEV (Contemporary English Version) as a primary Bible text, but it does make for simplified reading, often at the expense of full disclosure, the wrong wording or exclusions. Here is how the CEV opens Zechariah 12:1. It is good and simple and well worded for them.
“This is a message from the LORD about Israel: I am the LORD! I stretched out the heavens; I put the earth on its foundations and gave breath to humans” [CEV].
Simply put AND factual as a direct message from God to Israel (No church of Bible believers involved in this passage). Christians be they Gentile or Jew are raptured by then. It leaves no doubt as to whom the target market is in Zechariah chapter 12:1. Do not spiritualize this passage in an unscriptural attempt to try and include the Church. This passage is to Israel, specifically Jerusalem. This passage is the definitive meaning of Romans 8:31b. “If God be for us, who can be against us”.
Zechariah 12:2 “to make Jerusalem a cup of trembling.” We have many life examples of paranoia; absolute fear of one thing or another. Zechariah 12 tells of a global fear of Jerusalem. God is now in the driver’s seat. Other nations who have aligned themselves against her are catatonic. They are frozen in place and shaking. We do not have a good English word for this but in Hebrew it is called ra‛al. This means one is not looking from a distance but is standing right in front of their reason for “shaking in their boots” [absolute paranoia].
Zechariah 12:3 “and all the nations of the world will be gathered against it” [Brenton Bible Version]. There are many times we try to spiritualize scripture to make it sound better, to be less threatening, just thought but not an actuality, to be more positive, perhaps analogous or meaning something else safer or less fatal by spiritualizing. The people of Jerusalem are strong because the LORD Almighty is their God. This is the essence of verses 1-5. Zechariah 12:3 is even more troubling.
How can the USA align itself against Israel? It seems impossible. How can the 6 or 7 million Jews in New York alone not speak up to defend their native promised homeland of Israel and Jerusalem. This time in scripture and Zechariah prophesy will be the mother of all deceptions.
Verse 3, last line is not a metaphor. It says ALL NATIONS. The most recent 2020 USA national elections highly suggest that the USA is or already has produced a seismic shift away from Biblical standards. All nations cannot be redefined as meaning most nations. Not according to Zechariah 12:3. ALL NATIONS! Either America no longer exists or is aligned against Israel as part of ALL NATIONS. It should be genuinely concerning to believers. However, if believers are already raptured, this question is put to rest. Christians no longer occupy the earth as a body of believers.
But “God” we shout in today’s failure to take God at His word…there are many believers in America. God may respond…believers perhaps but are they absolute followers? Even the demons of Hell believe there is a Father God, Son Jesus Christ, and a real Holy Spirit. Yet they show no evidence of following in Christ’s footsteps. Aha-bible-moments suggests this is not an issue since the church of true believers is raptured before then.
Zechariah 12:4 [5, 6, &7] “In that day…” We continue to read these three words in Zechariah. Verse 4 begins with in that day as does verse 6. One should ask: what is THAT DAY? It is a day yet to be revealed. Not a 24-hour traditional day but a specific beginning to an end time series of events. No one will be guessing when THAT DAY reveals itself like the sun in the eastern horizon. All will see it, but few will have the Bible knowledge of what is happening in the sequence of historical events…End Time!
Verse 6 tells us that surrounding nations will be destroyed by God through the hands of “the captains of many” in Judah Israel. The Lord will save the tabernacles, tents, houses of Judah (Israel). The word used to describe these places is ‘ôhel. It can be translated places of worship, tents, homes, or people. To keep it within context since this is the Lord speaking in chapter 12, it means no one in Judah will think him or herself other than God is saving them. Not their missile defense, jets, rockets, powerful bombs, troops, or air force. Nothing with or of themselves will be their salvation at that moment of In ThatDay (V7).
Zechariah 12:8 & 9 is one statement. God will shelter those left in Jerusalem and will shâmad (annihilate) their enemies [cf. Zechariah 13:8]. The KJV says “to seek (bâqash) out and destroy.” It by no means suggests some aligned against Israel will somehow survive or hide from God’s wrath.
Here is insight for believers. The Hebrew word bâqash (seek) is analogous to how a believer is to worship God and pray!!!!! Do we get this? It is prayer and worship with fervor. Not a “Now I lay me down to sleep” type of praying or repetitious recital of the Lord’s Prayer. It is bâqash. Absolute commitment to worship and prayer. Is this missing in churches today? YES! Is it missing in Christians as individuals? Hmmm? Can bâqash be assigned a place in a bulletin?
The remainder of Zechariah is prophetic about the Christ (messiah) yet to come in Israel’s and humanity’s history. This is the New Testament being revealed in Old Testament scripture. Remember well. The original church after the death and resurrection of Jesus did not have a New Testament. They relied heavily upon scripture like Zechariah and Isaiah. This is an unconditional promise from God to Israel. He did send their [and our] Messiah but they crucified him. Gentiles crucify Him daily by not accepting Him as Lord, Savior, and living a life of prayer and worship. Too busy living “their” lives. One may also consider that many claiming believers also crucify him via their lack of a bâqash commiment.
In conclusion of Zechariah 12 we look at the only exception to covenants between God and mankind that is not conditioned with “if you____, the I (God)___”. It is Jeremiah 31:31. The NIV writes… “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.” This is a one-way covenant and precisely what Zechariah is conveying. The only unconditional covenant this writer can find in scripture. Israelis will no longer need to first do this so God can do this or that. It is not a bargain or conditional covenant-promise. We know this from other passages of absolute support for this one and only unconditional covenant; one that is NOT conditioned upon us doing something first. Are there those who are Christian in name only? [cf. Romans 10:9]
JIV NOTE: For the bâqash Bible student inquiry, read Jeremiah 30 before delving into this verse in Jeremiah 31.
And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince forever. [Not a conditional covenant but one that will be fulfilled by God]
And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: they will fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither will the be lacking in anything says the Lord God. [Not a conditional covenant but one that will be fulfilled by God]
“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” After that time? This is when the “if you__, then I will covenant types” are no longer conditional. God himself is setting the table. It is the Millennial Reign. God is supreme and there are no more prerequisites for him or Jeremiah 31:31.
There are several other supporting verses. Do not simply take our word for it. Look them up and learn.
We teach-You Decide
Rev Dr. Jstark